Julie and I have been spending way more time walking in the park and sitting on the deck than we ever have. And during those walks and sits I have been caught off guard by some things I have seen that I had assumed were not possible. For example, after living for fifteen years in the woods down in Hocking County in the 70s and 80s, I had become pretty proficient (maybe arrogant) in my knowledge of tree species, to the point I can probably identify 7 or 8 by the smell of their saw dust. White oak vs. red oak, cherry, sugar maple, etc. We have been back here in Columbus for 14 years now, and I have wondered why some of my favorite Hocking County trees weren’t growing up here.
In May I was stunned to see the biggest Dogwood tree I’d ever seen in the wild, growing at Sharon Woods. A couple weeks later I saw a Tulip Poplar at Blendon Woods. I can talk for a long time about the history of Tulip Poplar lumber in Ohio. Ask me sometime. I‘ve seen several other since then, now that I realize they do exist in Franklin County.
About a week later it dawned on me that we were walking by a meadow filled with young Sassafras trees, one of my favorites. Sassafras actually emits for distinct smells related either to a peeled root, a crushed leaf, a dried twig, or the sawdust. How could I have not seen them before this spring?
My biggest surprise came on a walk a block North of Hudson close to Indianola this week. I’m a serious gardener and also a gleaner of wild berries, mushrooms, and things. But the lettuce growing up through the crack in the sidewalk stunned me.
What other possibilities have I been missing?